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Matsushima Bay – A short guide BEFORE you go

As you approach the bay, a symphony of breathtaking sights and sounds surrounds you. Towering pine-clad islets rise from the crystal-clear blue waters, creating a mesmerizing vista that has inspired artists and thinkers for centuries. The distant mountains provide a stunning backdrop, perfectly merging with the skyline.

Discover the bay’s charm up close with a leisurely boat cruise, navigating through the maze of islands. Each turn reveals hidden coves, lush landscapes, and an overwhelming sense of tranquility that envelops you in nature’s embrace.

Matsushima Bay is a transformative experience that immerses you in Japan’s cultural and natural heritage. Whether seeking introspection, artistic inspiration, or solace from the world, this enchanting coastal haven promises to transport you to a realm of beauty and serenity.

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Can you swim at Matsushima Bay?

Can you swim at Matsushima Bay? Well, my adventurous friend, I’m here to reveal the truth to you.

Matsushima Bay may be a picturesque destination with its mesmerizing beauty, but swimming is not the primary activity here. While it’s tempting to jump into those crystal-clear waters, the bay is known for its strong currents and unpredictable tides.

Now, don’t despair just yet! Although swimming might not be on the menu, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Matsushima Bay’s aquatic delights.

You can take a boat tour and explore the bay’s 260 islands (yes, you read that right – 260 islands!), each one with its own unique charm. These boat tours allow you to get up close and personal with these natural wonders while enjoying a refreshing sea breeze.

While swimming isn’t recommended in the bay itself, fear not! Just a short distance away lies beautiful Zuiganji Beach, an idyllic spot where you can dip your toes into the soothing waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Take a leisurely stroll along this sandy paradise or find a cozy spot under one of the beach umbrellas to relax and sunbathe. So, while swimming within Matsushima Bay might not be advisable due to safety concerns, Zuiganji Beach offers an excellent alternative for those looking to take a refreshing plunge during their visit.

So remember: Visit Matsushima Bay for its captivating scenery and enchanting boat tours among its countless islands. And when it’s time for some water fun, head over to Zuiganji Beach for a delightful beach experience that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready for more adventures!

How to get to Matsushima Bay from Sendai

If you’re in Sendai and want to visit Matsushima Bay, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s quite accessible. There are several convenient ways to reach this enchanting destination.

Another option for getting to Matsushima Bay from Sendai is by bus. If you prefer a more leisurely pace or simply want to enjoy the scenic route, this could be a great choice for you.

Buses run regularly from Sendai Station and take approximately 40 minutes to reach Matsushima-Kaigan bus stop. This route allows you to sit back and relax while taking in the picturesque landscapes on your way.

Once you arrive, make sure to head straight for the bay and prepare yourself for an unforgettable experience surrounded by nature’s beauty. Whether you choose to travel by train or bus, both options make visiting Matsushima Bay from Sendai incredibly convenient and hassle-free.


What to see at Matsushima Bay

When you visit Matsushima Bay, you’ll be captivated by its stunning beauty and the plethora of sights to explore. One of the must-see attractions is the Zuiganji Temple, a Zen Buddhist temple that dates back to the 9th century.

As you step into its sacred grounds, you’ll be greeted by an air of tranquility and serenity. The main hall features intricately painted sliding doors depicting vibrant scenes from nature and mythology.

This small but picturesque island is accessible via a short boat ride from Matsushima Pier. As you approach Fukuurajima, you’ll be greeted by towering cliffs covered in lush greenery that seem to embrace the crystal-clear waters below.

Explore the island’s walking trails to discover hidden vantage points where you can take in breathtaking panoramic views of Matsushima Bay. Don’t forget your camera – Fukuurajima offers numerous photo opportunities that will leave your friends envious of your journey.

Next on your adventure at Matsushima Bay is a visit to Godaido Hall, located atop an elevated platform overlooking the bay’s enchanting islands. This historic structure has become an enduring symbol of Matsushima and is known for its elegant architectural design and sweeping views.

The bay takes on an otherworldly appearance as hundreds of small lanterns illuminate both land and water, creating a magical atmosphere that will leave you spellbound. Visit Matsushima Bay for an unforgettable journey through its enchanting sights and discover the beauty that has inspired artists, poets, and travelers throughout the centuries.

How many islands are in Matsushima Bay?

Visit Matsushima Bay, and you will be greeted by the enchanting sight of numerous islands scattered across its serene waters. Known for its natural beauty and unique rock formations, Matsushima Bay boasts a total of 260 islands.

Yes, you read that right—260 islands! These islands come in various shapes and sizes, each with its own distinct character.

As you take a leisurely cruise through the bay or stroll along the shore, you will encounter a multitude of islands that will captivate your imagination. The largest island in Matsushima Bay is called Oshima, which is renowned for its lush greenery and breathtaking views.

It is an ideal spot for nature lovers to immerse themselves in the tranquility of this picturesque setting. Another notable island is Fukuurajima, known for its iconic red torii gate standing proudly on the rocky shoreline.

This sacred site provides visitors with a sense of serenity and offers fantastic photo opportunities. Amongst this vast archipelago lies some smaller islands that are home to interesting historical sites.

Matsushima Bay truly offers an island-hopping experience like no other. With so many islands to explore, each with its own unique charm and attractions, it’s no wonder this place has captured the hearts of countless visitors from around the world.

The history of Matsushima Bay

Over the centuries, Matsushima Bay has witnessed a fascinating history that has shaped its identity and intrigued visitors from all walks of life. This enchanting bay holds tales of ancient battles, renowned poets, and even natural disasters. So, let’s delve into the captivating history of Matsushima Bay and uncover some remarkable stories.

Notably, it was in this very bay that the renowned poet Matsuo Basho found tranquility and penned his famous haiku: “Matsushima ah!

A-ah! Matsushima ah!

Matsushima ah!” Okay, maybe I’m not as poetic as Basho himself, but you get the idea!

The bay’s allure extended beyond poetry when it became a strategic location during medieval Japan. In the 16th century, powerful warlords recognized its advantageous position for defense and constructed Sendai Castle overlooking the bay.

This stunning temple complex not only became a symbol of his power but also added an architectural marvel to Matsushima’s landscape. As if that wasn’t enough historical drama for one bay, Matsushima faced devastation in 2011 when an earthquake-triggered tsunami struck northeastern Japan.

While there was significant damage to nearby towns and cities—including Sendai—the resilient spirit of Matsushima prevailed. Efforts were made to restore its natural beauty and historic landmarks with Visit Miyagi campaign playing a pivotal role in attracting tourists back to this gem.

From poetry to warlords to natural calamities, the history of Matsushima Bay is a testament to the enduring allure of this enchanting destination. So, when you visit Matsushima Bay, take a moment to soak in its rich past and appreciate how it has evolved into the picturesque paradise it is today.


What happened to Sendai Castle?

Sendai Castle was constructed in 1602 by Date Masamune, a powerful feudal lord known as “The One-Eyed Dragon.” This magnificent castle served as the seat of power for the Date clan and played a crucial role in shaping the history of Matsushima Bay. Sadly, Sendai Castle no longer stands today.

In 1882, a devastating fire destroyed much of the castle’s main tower and other important structures. Despite efforts to restore it, the castle suffered further damage during World War II bombings.

As a result, only a few remnants of its former glory remain. However, visitors can still catch glimpses of this once-majestic fortress through surviving stone walls that mark its boundaries.

Despite its absence, Sendai Castle’s legacy lives on in Matsushima Bay. Its presence has left an indelible mark on the region’s history and culture.

The ruins serve as a reminder of Japan’s feudal past and provide an opportunity for visitors to reflect upon the significance of this historic site while taking in breathtaking panoramic views over Matsushima Bay from Aoba Hill. So when you visit Matsushima Bay, don’t miss out on exploring these remnants and immerse yourself in centuries-old tales that contribute to the rich tapestry woven into this remarkable destination.

Hope you enjoy your visit to Matsushima Bay

Matsushima Bay is truly a gem that should not be missed. Its breathtaking beauty, serene atmosphere, and rich history make it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Whether you explore the bay by boat or on foot, you will be captivated by the sheer magnificence of the countless islands, each with its own unique charm.

Swimming may not be allowed in Matsushima Bay due to its strong currents and potential hazards. However, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy.

Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront promenade and soak in the picturesque views. Visit one of the many tea houses scattered throughout the area and savor a cup of matcha while indulging in traditional Japanese sweets.

Explore Zuiganji Temple, an architectural marvel dating back to the 9th century, or venture out to Godaido Hall for panoramic vistas of the bay. Getting to Matsushima Bay from Sendai is convenient and straightforward.

Simply hop on a train from Sendai Station heading towards Matsushima-Kaigan Station. The journey takes around 30 minutes and offers scenic glimpses of rural landscapes along the way.

Once you arrive at Matsushima-Kaigan Station, it’s just a short walk to the bay where your adventure awaits. So why wait?

Visit Matsushima Bay and immerse yourself in its natural wonders and intriguing history. You’ll leave with lasting memories and an appreciation for this enchanting destination that will stay with you long after your visit comes to an end.

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